3 Common Mistakes Grads Make When Finding a Job
Mistake #3: Sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring.
This is something we see a lot, since for the better part of the last 20 years, grads have been conditioned to think that good grades and a good “education” would be sufficient for finding a job. And while we certainly respect the overall education system, we think it’s safe to say that a 3.0 GPA, and a college diploma aren’t going to save the day when it comes to landing your ideal job.
Instead, we recommend grads get out of the house and start networking.
We’re talking about local Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations, Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, non-profit organizations, cocktail parties…anyplace where you can find people who have jobs in your industry.
Now with that said, the likelihood of finding a Hiring Manager at one of these functions is pretty remote. However, a lot of times you’ll run into people who even though they might not be the hiring authority for a position, they might know someone, who knows someone else who might be looking to hire someone just like you. And by meeting that original contact, you’re gotten the ball rolling for finding a job.
That reminds us of a story of a friend of ours a few years back who really took this to the next level.
He’d graduated college recently and was looking for work in the oil and gas industry. That was all good and well except that at the time, the United States was in the middle of a recession (the one before this one), and no one was hiring all that much.
So instead of sitting around complaining about the situation, he hit the phones and started calling Oil & Gas Conferences and Trade Expo events to see if he could volunteer at those events, in exchange for receiving a “scholarship” on the registration costs.
(Industry groups have conferences all the time. Usually it’s just a matter of looking up your industry online, plus the word “association” and something usually pops up.)
Anyway, some of the event coordinators took him up on the offer. So all he had to do was drive out to the Conference site, and in exchange for a half day of registering people at the Welcome Table or whatever volunteer position they needed filled, he was then free to roam the halls and network in an environment where EVERYONE was a potential hiring manager.
And here’s the best part: All he had to do is find one person, who had one contact, who could find him one job.
Needless to say, it didn’t take too long until our friend find himself a position…even during a tough economic time.
So if you just graduated from college and are looking for a job, do yourself a favor and dive right in to whatever networking events you can find in your city, since that will go a long ways towards finding your ideal job.
And if you’re not sure exactly what to say while networking, or have no idea what a Unique Selling Proposition is and how it can help you stand out from the crowd, then we recommend you go here real quick to find more information on how you can start networking like a pro today.
Mistake #2: Not having a gameplan, Not having a professional looking resume.
This is a real common mistake, since most grads we’ve run into have more or less…how shall we say, flown by the seat of their pants when it comes to finding a job.
Sure everyone wants a job, and most grads even have an idea as to what industry or even company they might want to work for. But beyond that, there’s usually not too much of a gameplan for physically making that happen.
Which needless to say is a real mistake if you plan on finding a job in the shortest time possible.
First off, you’ll want to take a look at your major and figure out which jobs are best suited for your particular interests. Ask your parents, ask some of their friends and talk to some professors in your major to get their opinions of the best direction to go.
Once you’ve established that you’re heading the right way, then we recommend creating a Hit List of say 25 companies who fall into the industry or category where you want to work. During this time you’ll also want to ask yourself if relocation, or living in another city is something you want to do.
If you’re open to relocation, then your options will be much greater. If not, that’s fine too, but you’ll want to get that worked out before hand.
From there you’ll want to get your resume in order and make sure it highlights some areas that would interest perspective employers in your industry. Remember, when it comes to resumes, one size does not fit all.
You want to tailor your resume to address their “hot buttons” or issues facing your chosen industry.
You’ll also want to make sure your wardrobe is in line with that of your desired professional destination. So if you’re interviewing for a banking position, then showing up in sneakers and dock siders probably isn’t the way to go.
Conversely, if you’re interviewing for software or technology job position, then a blue suit and white tie might not do it either.
In a word: Know your audience.
And lastly, have a few good questions relating to that industry ready to go, that way when they ask you “do you have any questions” during the interview, you can come across as the competent professional who they want to hire.
I know this sounds like a lot, and to be honest with you, it can be a little overwhelming…especially for someone who recently came out of school. But if you’d like some more information on how what you can do to make these specific points work for you, then just go right here and you’ll see if there’s some more stuff that can help you out.
Mistake #1: Solely relying on “Monster” and other job posting sites.
This is an absolute killer for anyone coming out of school looking for a job, because here’s how the story usually goes…
You’ve come out of school with good grades and a degree, and you’re feeling good about your prospects for finding a job. So after doing a little research and creating a resume, you do what any normal person would expect…you post your resume online.
You go to this site, and that one. You go to company websites and message boards…all the while posting your resumes along the way. So a few hours later you sit back in your chair, exhale loudly and get ready for the job offers to come in.
Except guess what? It never happens!
And while we don’t know where all of those online resumes and job applications go, we do know this: It almost never (and we mean never), leads to an interview…much less an actual offer.
Sure you might get some calls, but at the end of the day it usually just turns out to be a recruiter or some other person “screening” applications, and you just happened to be next in the stack.
If we could impart one piece of advice to today’s college grad it would be this: Get in the game.
Go to networking events, talk to your professors, use the career center, talk to your parents…just don’t sit around thinking that 3 hours, a computer and an online resume is going to help you land your ideal job. There are just too many applicants for too few positions, and not enough time for employers and HR folks to sift through the rubble.
So what can you do to find a job right away?
Well, you can start by learning as much as you can, as fast as you can, about finding your ideal job…especially in a market as tough as this.
Read a book, pick up a CD, heck, get a library card if you have to, but now more than ever you need a step-by-step approach on how to find a job today.
At Jobs4GradsNow we have a resource called UR Hired, Jobs 4 Grads now has helped thousands of recent grads find fun, fulfilling jobs through an easy to use, easy to play video game that can make finding a job fun again. During this video based, 10 step process, you’ll learn how to:
- Find unadvertised job openings in your area,
- Build the perfect resume with help from our Job Search Professionals,
- Discover job postings geared specifically for your interests and your major.
Think of it like a video game where YOU are the main character. Except instead of shooting aliens, you’re learning exactly what it takes to find a fun, fulfilling job.
Because let’s face it: It’s tough out there…especially for today’s college grad.
But finding a job shouldn’t be one, and want to be there for you.